Uncharted Territory

Dave Hodges is the founder of the Church of Ambrosia, an interfaith organisation that believes magic mushrooms and cannabis are divine sacraments which facilitate connection with God. Zide Door, the religion's first church, in Oakland, California, has more than 100,000 members, who pay a $5 fee – allowing them to buy unregulated, tax-free sacraments.

We discuss Dave's journey through cannabis advocacy, mental health struggles, and founding the church. He is also an advocate of 'high dose work' which involves mind bogglingly strong 30g magic mushroom trips. He has taken a number of these journeys and spoken directly with his soul. Dave tells me how he and one member accidentally overdosed once, due to an unusually strong batch of mushrooms that meant the 15g they took was effectively closer to 45g in terms of potency. After the member had an incredibly challenging experience, it prompted Hodges to start testing the mushrooms for psilocybin potency and figuring out the optimal dosages in relation to the weight of the person seeking to take them.

I share an anecdote from one mushroom trip with Dave, and he says what happened was my soul slapping me in the face to compel me to do something. He also shares a piece of harm reduction advice with listeners who may not have access to testing kits: to grind their batch of mushrooms into a powder, to make it less likely that one person accidentally eats the three strongest shrooms in the bag and gets an unpleasant surprise. We also talk about how challenging mushroom trips can, in extremely rare cases, lead to death – and not just from subsequent careless behaviour. You can read more about Dave and his church via SF Gate. He also appeared on Fox, when the host toyed with the idea of joining the church.

What is Uncharted Territory?

Reflections on the psychedelic revolution, society and consciousness.